#WW2 Children’s Book. @LizanneLloyd Reviews The Blitz Bus by @gblackwellbooks, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading The Blitz Bus by Glen Blackwell

The Blitz Bus: A children's time travel adventure by [Glen Blackwell]

If I could have taken my class back in time when I was teaching history to Key Stage 2 children, how useful it would have been! Jack and Emmie are learning about the Second World War and their teachers expect them to have empathy for the children who were alive in 1940. On the way home from school on a double decker bus driving through east London they spot a mannequin in a shop window with a gas mask. When they leave the bus, everything is slightly different. Stumbling into Bethnal Green Underground station with crowds of others, they believe a film is being made, but the bombs are real and they can’t find their way home to their families.

This is an exciting story which would be great as a class reader or as an adventurous read by fluent readers. Most of the first chapter is unnecessary and could put off some from continuing with the story, but once Jack and Emma meet Jan, a likeable Polish refugee, and start to investigate a mysterious figure they think might be a spy the adventure gains momentum. Will they solve the mystery without being arrested by the police, can they ever get home to present day London?

An authentic picture of events during the Blitz shown through the eyes of young people who explore the city observing the devastation. I enjoyed reading this story and I am sure many middle grade children would find it a worthwhile read.

4 stars

Desc 1

Emmie let out a huge sob – “It’s not a film set”, she cried. She held onto Jack for a moment, then took a step back, closed her eyes and shouted – “WHERE AM I?”

When Jack and Emmie suddenly find themselves transported back to London in 1940, they find a world both familiar, yet very different. As they dodge falling bombs and over-zealous policemen, they befriend Jan – a lonely Polish refugee. Together, they must work out if the shadowy figure they keep seeing is a spy and unlock the secret of getting home again…

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

The Blitz Bus: A children's time travel adventure by [Glen Blackwell]

A #middlegrade Adventure. @LizanneLloyd Reviews The Dark Side Of Midnight by @carolJhedges, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading The Dark Side Of Midnight by Carol Hedges

In a changed world of the near future, Jazmin Dawson and her mother Assia are growing apart. Assia’s job with an International Security organisation often takes her away from her daughter on important missions. Jaz dreams of being a secret agent too but she also wishes her Mum would spend more time with her. But Assia has to travel abroad again following up a worrying crime. This time Jaz has to go to stay in one of the new Tower cities with her uncle’s family. Uncle Ian & his wife Dee are a wealthy couple who work long hours so that they can spend plenty of money on their children. 16-year-old Clea is supposed to be looking after Jaz, but the spoilt girl is alternatively sarcastic or ignoring her.

As Assia finds herself a captive of a dangerous couple, Jaz’s life improves. She meets Tonda, a handsome, kind, young entertainer, whose friends welcome Jaz into their company. Sadly, he will soon be leaving England, but Jaz is also summoned to Prague by her mother’s colleagues hoping that she can help them to find Assia.

The story shows Jaz gradually developing skills as a crime fighter in an increasingly frightening scenario. Both Clea and Tonda have unexpected parts to play in the terrifying events and the conclusion draws the reader into seeking out the next book in the series. A recommended read for a middle grade reader who enjoys adventure with a smart, likeable heroine.

Desc 1

Jazmin Dawson is a super-cool secret agent with hi-tech kit and a hi-octane life of crime-busting … in her dreams! In reality, Jazmin Dawson is a fourteen year old teenager, whose biggest battles are with her homework and her addiction to snacks.
But suddenly, everything changes. Jazmin’s mother works for the London branch of GID (Global Intelligence Department) an organisation responsible for tracking down individuals and groups that threaten world security. Tasked with locating a stolen dead body, she goes missing in action, and Jazmin is sent to find her.
Stepping off a plane in Prague, Jazmin finds herself at the centre of an international mystery, and with a dangerous mission: to infiltrate a rogue scientific institute.

“Jazmin Dawson’s first assignment is a thrilling read, full of fast-paced action and put-downs as deadly as an assassin’s bullet.”

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A Children’s Book About The London Blitz And #WW2. Sherry Reviews The Blitz Bus by @gblackwellbooks

Today’s team review is from Sherry. She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sherry has been reading The Blitz Bus by Glen Blackwell

This middle grade book is a good one for children to learn about the London Blitz and WWII days of 1940. The main characters, Jack and Emmie are in modern day London and Jack is assigned to write an essay about the London Blitz and how a lot of children were evacuated to the countryside during that time. Meanwhile, in Emmie’s drama class, they are acting out the children leaving their parents.

Jack has a hard time envisioning the city at that time and is kept back at school that afternoon to finish his paper,, making him almost late to meet his friend Emmie. 

When they are finally on the bus headed home, they look out and see a shop they haven’t seen before.  In the window is a mannequin who has a gas mask.

Exiting the bus, there is a large unexplained bang. It’s raining and they take shelter at a tube station. Everyone is dressed differently than Emmie and Jack. There are cots set up in the station. The two children think they’ve stumbled onto a film set. Until very real bombs start falling and they find themselves in the middle of an air raid.

They make friends with a boy in the shelter, but don’t tell him they have somehow come from another time period.

The adventure really begins here. Jack and Emmie discover food lines, cratered buildings, rationing, bombs, anti-aircraft balloons, air raid shelters in yards, and, as well, have to hide from authorities. They fear spies are around and being taken for spies themselves with their modern items like Jack’s calculator. They find some help from their new friend, Jan, a boy from Poland. 

Even though I am nowhere near the age for middle grade stories, I enjoy them and this one was particularly good. The fact that the children were studying this era in school and couldn’t imagine how people were living and then were transported there is very educational—yet done in a fun way—A lot of interesting historical facts came through in a way that entertains and would have a younger reader on the edge of their seat worried about the two protagonists and how they would solve their problems as well as how they would be able to get back to their own time period.

The only thing I would have liked to be added to the story would be an epilogue of the children finding the friends they made in the 21st century when the friends were elderly. That would have been a fun ending. Overall, I was happy with the story and would recommend it to the middle grade age group as a history lesson full of interesting reading that will hold their interest.

Desc 1

Emmie let out a huge sob – “It’s not a film set”, she cried. She held onto Jack for a moment, then took a step back, closed her eyes and shouted – “WHERE AM I?”

When Jack and Emmie suddenly find themselves transported back to London in 1940, they find a world both familiar, yet very different. As they dodge falling bombs and over-zealous policemen, they befriend Jan – a lonely Polish refugee. Together, they must work out if the shadowy figure they keep seeing is a spy and unlock the secret of getting home again…

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Middlegrade UNDOERS ONE by D. P. Davies

Today’s team review is from Karen, she blogs here https://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Undoers One by D. P. Davies

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This book introduces you to Lily who is running away from something invisible and ends up in front of Sam’s home.

With “Undoers One, D.P. Davies has created the first in a series of adventures with an unusual and cute group of kids. It is a very compelling read, inevitably drawing you in as the story proceeds. D.P. Davies paints a clear picture of the main characters’ mindsets – making the readers acquainted with them – while the story evolves. I was drawn very close to Lily and Sam. The main characters are complex and I took to them instantly; the others are of sufficient depth. The story is cleverly elaborated and has a great flow. I had a great time reading “Undoers One”; currently reading “Undoers Two”.

This is a book for you if you like middle-grade adventure, funny moments, and likeable characters.

Highly recommended.

Book description

“I can’t do magic,” said the boy. “That’s impossible.” He paused. “But I can undo it.”

Sam is a nine-year-old boy who can solve anyone’s spooky problems. He knows there are no such things as ghosts, vampires or aliens, only a mysterious energy that gets attached to stuff. People give Sam their “cursed” things, he applies some school science, and their terrors disappear, all without ever having to leave his bedroom (which is the way he likes it).

But then Lily, a girl in the grade above him, arrives outside his house one night surrounded by this strange energy, and it keeps coming back whatever Sam tries to do to help. Can they work together to find out why? And where in the maze of DC’s streets and monuments will it lead them? Together with a best friend who thinks he’s a Russian hacker and a brother who believes he’s the next baseball All-Star, Sam and Lily can’t give up until they figure it out.

If you can prove that monsters don’t exist, what is there to be scared of?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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My #BookReview Zara Zyon and a Maelstrom of Secrets by Melissa Ann Peters @zarazyonandmap

Zara Zyon and a Maelstrom of SecretsZara Zyon and a Maelstrom of Secrets by Melissa Ann Peters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Zara Zyon & A Maelstrom Of Secrets is an advanced middle grade fantasy read.

Zara is a mermaid who is hiding on land from Empress Atillix Viren and her Infernal Order, who are wreaking havoc in the sea, and now advancing to the land.

Members of the four non-human realms hide themselves in everyday human form: Aquatians, ocean dwellers like Zara, Aireons, Terraneans and Fireites. One day Zara’s treasured shell bracelet shatters and cuts her hand, and she immediately fears that enemies of her realm will smell it and try to capture her. Attempting to hide the evidence, she washes the bracelet pieces down a drain, but a short while later they magically return. Zara decides that the bracelet is endowed with a curse which has unknowingly, attached itself to her person. Several attempts to break the curse fail. Meanwhile, Zara has an invisible stalker, revealed only by the ‘squeak’, of his sneakers. Definitely one from another realm, but is he friend or foe?

The story mixes early teen romance, fighting an evil empress, doing right by the environment and being a good role model to others. These are impressive themes to want to include and I was intrigued as to how the author would approach these ideas and make them her own. For instance, a strong curse in an item of jewellery will always make me think of Harry Potter. Teenage mermaids send my mind to the TV series H2O. I did find myself making comparisons whilst reading this book, but I understand that although these ideas are made famous by such giants as the Harry Potter series, they are not exclusive to them.

The writing is easy to read and is suitable for the age range. However, for me, there was room to tighten and polish the writing; I felt it could have done with another draft or two and the removal of unnecessary dialogue ‘tags’, and using a wider range of dialogue techniques which might help differentiate between character voices. Also, lines like ‘the girls ran at a fast steady pace’, need a little more sorting with the help of a good editor.

I liked the idea of a girl wanting the freedom to be herself, and this theme has great potential, but for me, the ideas in this book felt rushed and under developed.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Zara Zyon took a deep breath in and smelt her own blood. If she could smell it, the creatures of all four Realms could too, and they would know what she was not— a human. Her dead grandmother’s voice rang in her ears.

“Never ever bleed above the sea, your blood leaves a trace which will cause a chase.”

The scent of her blue blood would travel as far as one-hundred-and-ten tails in every direction. The soles of her shoes ticked against the floor as her legs shook under the desk. Silas Novic sat next to her and his usual friendly smile was missing. His stare caused a chill to shoot up her spine.

Zara didn’t know how she was going to change her life and keep everyone she loved safe, but she knew in her heart she had to stay and survive.

“Scales, skin, and a tail, I just want the freedom to be myself.”

About the author

I’m from Welland, Ontario, Canada, and I’m thirty-nine. I’m a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, Creative Writing Certificate Program. I live with my sister, our big dog, and a small bunny. I lived in Toronto Canada for many years. I drove the coast of California once (flipping a loonie to make the majority of my decisions) and it made me extremely happy. I moved to Halifax for a year because I flipped that same coin. I love NYC and New York State as a whole, not just because we’re neighbours (ours is Canadian spelling). I take my shoes off when I come into the house. I try to be as vegan as possible, without getting too angry or annoyed with the rest of the world or myself. I think sharks are super cool. I’m a great cook, except I can’t bake, and am clueless at cooking meat.  I’m not perfect, and have made a terrific amount of mistakes in my life; I’m ok with all of them because I learned from all of them. I believe if I stop learning I will die, or just spontaneously combust. I am a geek and I am ok with that too. In life it is never too late to go after something you want; if you have the drive to do it then you need to do it. Talking to strangers and meeting new people, makes me happy. I write by accident and I write on purpose. Fear has no value in my life. Random thoughts keep me up at night until I get them on paper.  And some stories I just have to tell. Editing is exciting to me. When I get lost in my writing I fall in love all over again. I like to listen, I listen a lot. Good dialogue is my favorite thing in life, on paper and in speech, it warms my soul.

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